What's in a Day?
April 29, 2023
1745 – Oliver Ellsworth, American lawyer and politician, 3rd Chief Justice of the United States (d. 1807)
1783 – David Cox, English landscape painter (d. 1859)
1818 – Alexander II of Russia (d. 1881)
1847 – Joachim Andersen, Danish flautist, composer and conductor (d. 1907)
1848 – Raja Ravi Varma, Indian painter and academic (d. 1906)
1858 – Georgia Hopley, American journalist, temperance advocate, and the first woman prohibition agent (d. 1944)
1863 – William Randolph Hearst, American publisher and politician, founded the Hearst Corporation (d. 1951)
1887 – Robert Cushman Murphy, American ornithologist (d. 1973)
1888 – Michael Heidelberger, American immunologist (d. 1991)
1891 – Bharathidasan, Indian poet and activist (d. 1964)
1891 – Edward Wilfred Taylor, British businessman (d. 1980)
1899 – Duke Ellington, American pianist, composer and bandleader (d. 1974)
1901 – Hirohito, Japanese emperor (d. 1989)
1917 – Celeste Holm, American actress and singer (d. 2012)
1933 – Rod McKuen, American singer-songwriter and poet (d. 2015)
1933 – Willie Nelson, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, producer and actor
1938 – Bernie Madoff, American businessman, financier and convicted felon (d. 2021)
"The Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare is an occasion to pay tribute to those who lost their lives or suffered from these heinous weapons; to assess our progress in preventing their use; and to renew our commitment to achieve a world free of chemical weapons."-António Guterres
Born this day in 1854 – Henri Poincaré, French mathematician, physicist, and engineer. Poincaré became the first person to discover a chaotic deterministic system which laid the foundations of modern chaos theory. He is also considered to be one of the founders of the field of topology. From descriptions of his work habits, it seems he was genius with ADHD who managed it well.
On this day in 1945 – Dachau concentration camp is liberated by United States troops.
A Prayer for Cities Where Violence Reeks Havoc
Thank you, God, for a peaceful night in our own homes.
Yet, there are cities where the havoc of violence puts all on edge today.
Choose such a city and Pray
Build and rebuild trust and truth, order, mutual respect, love, grace, and the shalom of that city.
Might can restore for a moment and we are grateful for the legitimate exercise of authority, but lasting peace is built out of reconciling relationships and a passion for justice and righteousness.
May that be the heart of the city that emerges as You empower the people of goodwill to work together to build their city and create a model for the rest of us.
May this be a day of turning for that city.
William Wallace Denslow's illustrations for Three Wise Men of Gotham, from a 1901 edition of Mother Goose
Who Is the Fool?
First, this verse is not really or primarily about atheism, because it is not about an intellectual conviction or doubt. It is an assessment of a heart inclination that knows one thing and behaves in an oppositional manner toward truth. There are many theists who have said in their heart that there is no God.
Second, it is not about intellectual deficiency. The biblical context for use of the word, "fool" is almost always the absence of wisdom and moral discretion. In fact, it self-defines in this verse as, "they are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity."
In other words, "You act as if there were no governing truth or Governor of truth in the universe. You live your life in contempt of God."
I used to call this "practical atheism."
Some of my friends would argue that morality and theology have no correlation and I would remind them that I am preaching to the choir who feels that because their theology is sort of OK, that they are OK.
But then, it gets more inclusive than that. Do you like inclusiveness? Try this:
"There is none who does good."
Is it psalmistic hyperbole, the exasperation of a godly soul who is fed up with all the ungodliness or is it the reality of human depravity and universal susceptibility?
Does he include himself?
I do not know, but I count me among those who have worn the jester's hat and played the fool.
Every time I forget my Center, I am among the company of spiritual, oral, and ethical idiots who are saying in their hearts (mission control of the decision-making process) that there is no God.
"The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity;
there is none who does good."
-Psalm 53:1 ESV
We get so impressed with ourselves, our titles, positions, and curricula vitae. We adorn ourselves with fading splendor and gaudy honor. We fancy our bodies indestructible and our minds bright and permanent.
No matter how differentiated in minutia our DNA may be from that of the beasts, we fade, we falter, we fall, we die.
We go down to the pit of death with all of our confidence, boasting, and self-deception for we are dust and our pomp is but the costume jewelry of our silly make-believe games of childhood.
If it is all we have, we have nothing. Death is our shepherd.
But God has something else in mind for us, a rescue from Sheol, a ransom of our souls, a renewal of our lives, and an ignition of our significance and reason for being.
His intention is to receive us.
He is a receiving God.
" Man in his pomp will not remain;
he is like the beasts that perish.
This is the path of those who have foolish confidence;
yet after them people approve of their boasts. Selah
Like sheep they are appointed for Sheol;
death shall be their shepherd,
and the upright shall rule over them in the morning.
Their form shall be consumed in Sheol, with no place to dwell.
But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol,
for he will receive me. Selah"
- Psalm 49:12-15 - (ESV)